Thursday, March 24, 2011

1789, 1914 ... 2011?

The NYT reports on dissensions within Germany over Merkel's abstention from Libyan intervention and retreat from nuclear power post-Fukushima:
Taken together, the actions in Berlin demonstrate anew Germany’s increasing willingness in a post-cold-war world to act like other countries, subordinating relations with allies for the sake of national interests — and even for domestic political reasons.

Mrs. Merkel’s decision to abstain from the Security Council vote was fiercely criticized by many in her own party, while Joschka Fischer, a member of the opposition Greens and a former foreign minister, wrote that ”Germany has lost its credibility in the United Nations and the Middle East” and that “German hopes for a permanent seat on the Security Council have been permanently dashed.”

Klaus Naumann, the former head of the German military, said that “even the idea of a European Union seat” on the Security Council had been damaged, adding, “Germany has turned the idea of a unified European Union foreign policy into a farce.”

In a meeting of Mrs. Merkel’s own parliamentary caucus, Ruprecht Polenz, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, called Germany’s abstention “a catastrophic signal,” according to Der Spiegel. Christian Ruck of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party, complained that “the European Union is falling apart.”
So what's the German government saying?
The German government, caught up in the political fallout from the Japanese nuclear calamity, decided to abstain at the United Nations because that was a “more honest” expression of Germany’s aversion to military action of its own in Libya, said a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity, following diplomatic protocol.

The official stressed, however, that the government’s attention had been focused primarily on Japan. When history is written, he said, “people will remember 9/11, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Kennedy assassinations and Fukushima.”
Uh, sorry, what? TBA's been as concerned as the next guy about Fukushima, but it ain't even up to Chernyobl standards -- hell, George Monbiot is not obviously mistaken to conclude that Fukushima proved the (relative) safety of nuclear power.

The German government sounds very, very confused, and the article suggests that Merkel's coalition may shortly be a minority government.

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